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JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. THE IRISH PENNY JOURNAL. 317 a great deal of trouble, and many men to tend them during the time of their burning, that the fire may descend even and leisurely, whereby the tar may have time to soak out of the wood, and settle down into the pit. As it comes from the wood it is pure tar, but in the pit it mixes with water, which issues from the wood also ; therefore it is afterwards clarified. — Life of Sir Dudley North. Aurora Boreaxis — According to Crantz, ithe Green- landers hold the northern lights for a game of tennis, or for a dance of departed souls ; and this opinion is not a whit more irrational than the superstition of the oriental nations, the Greeks and Romans, and all the unenlightened people of the middle ages, who, in the aurora borealis, and other fiery me- teors, saw fighting armies, flaming swords, chariots and spears, battles and blood, and even thought that they heard the clash- ing of arms and the sound of martial music. In the rainbow the ancient inhabitants of the north discovered a bridge from earth to heaven, and called it the bridge of the gods, which was watched by a dog, whom no art could elude, and whose auditory faculty was such, that he could hear the grass grow or the wool on the sheep's back ; the Kamschatkadales make of it a new garment for their aerial spirits, edged with fringes of red-coloured seal-skin, and leather thongs of various gaudy dyes. THE ISLE OF SAINTS. " Primus ordo sanctissimus ; secundus ordo sanctior ; tertius sanctus. Primus sicut sol ardescit ; secundus sicut luna ; tertius sicut stellse." — See the ancient catalogue of the three classes of Irish saints, as published by Usher and Lanigan. There lived in Erin's hallowed borders, In days of yore, three saintly Orders. And first, the simply holy :— They Shed like the stars a flickering ray. The second — holieb— poured a light Moon-like, subdued and calmly bright. The third, or holiest of all. Shone like the sun— or like Saint Paul. But, oh, the state of man's unrest In good 1 — the last were first and best. The middle but a term between The purest and the least serene ; Less than the greatest — greater far Than those whose emblem is the star. "Waning they ran a downward race, With fainter faith and lessening grace, Till, reaching to the stage most lowly, The least and latest were the Holy. Oh, that they there had staid '. — that sin Had, to this swept and garnished inn Returning, found the entrance barred, And Faith still keeping watch and ward ! — Alas ! — they slept in Ease's bower ; They could not '* watch one little hour." The stars their ineffectual light In slumber sealed. • The thief by night Entered ; and o'er the rich domain Sowed tares among the better grain. Sin flourished ; — poverty and strife Embittered all the charms of life ; And passion, with unbounded sway, Swept sun and moon and stars away. And yet not ever such, sweet Isle, Shall be thy fate. The stars shall smile Again upon thy valleys green, Again the moon shall beam serene Upon thy mountains ; and the bright Celestial sun clothe thee with light, With plenty bless, and warm and cheer Thy long-delayed rmllenial year. Even'now the sacred morning dawns, The clouds are fleeting' from thy lawns ; And, as light thickens in the sky, Lo ! Riot and Intemperance fly ; And chaste sobriety imparts Her eup, and Industry his arts. Peace, Love, and Holiness once more Row their sweet ark towards thy shore ; And Heaven renews the favouring smile That made thee once the Saintly Isle. N ANIMAL CHARMING, OR THE SUBJUGATION OF ANIMALS BY MEANS OF CHARMS, SPELLS, OR DRUGS. Third and Concluding Article. In my last paper I endeavoured to show how exceedingly absurd and unfounded was the notion of the Abbe Dubois and Denon, that the serpent-charmers of India were and are a set of juggling impostors, who practise on the credulity of the vulgar, and vainly set forward pretensions to an art which has no actual existence, and which, consequently, possesses no legitimate claims on the attention of the philosophic in- quirer. I now wish to bring all that I would, observe upon this very curious subject to a conclusion. I acknowledge my inability to furnish my readers with a thorough explanation of the means by which these wonders are performed; but I think I may be able, at all events, to suggest such hints as may place them on the direct path to the attainment of the knowledge they desire ; after which, nothing will be necessary but some degree of research and perseverance to afford them a complete gratification of their wishes. It is evident, that whatever may be the supplementary means employed in serpent-charming, music is necessary to its accomplishment. I should not be satisfied on this point were it merely dependent upon the assertions of the jug- glers themselves, as in such case it might not unnaturally be set down as a mere external cloak for some more important secret which the performers did not wish to be discovered ; and for this reason I made the observation in my first article on this subject, that the precise importance of the music in these operations was not as yet entirely apparent. I wish it to be understood, however, that although the degree of impor- tance in which music should be held as an adjunct to the charming of snakes, or as a primary part of the process, has not as yet been ascertained by those who have investigated or endeavoured to investigate the business, and published the results of their inquiries, I for my part am fully satisfied on the subject. To return, however, to our more immediate matter of discussion. Many have conceived that serpent-charming depends in the first instance upon the snakes being previously deprived of their fangs, and thus rendered innocuous. This opinion I have already demonstrated as palpably erroneous. Others, again, hold that the jugglers possess a power, by eating cer- tain herbs, or chewing the leaves or roots of certain plants, of rendering themselves proof against animal poisons. In order to render themselves perfectly secure, it is said that their practice is to chew the herbs, to inoculate various parts of their body with the juice, and even bathe themselves in water in which these herbs have been steeped. It is supposed that the bodies of the charmers thus become not merely proof against the most deadly poison should they chance to be bitten, but that those thus prepared exhale from their persons an odour which produces a benumbing or stupifying effect upon the reptiles, and renders them an easy capture. Whether or not it be true that such is the case, we know that the Psylli not merely profess the power of charming snakes, but also that of curing by spells, and the application of certain herbs, such as have been bitten by them. We are informed by the historian and biographer Plutarch, that Cato in his march through the desert took with him many of those persons called Psylli (then a distinct tribe, though at the present day that name is applied indiscriminately to all professing the art of serpent-charming) to suck out the poison from the wounds of any of his soldiers that might chance to be bitten by any of the numerous venomous serpents which infested his route. The powers of the Psylli were then always attributed to magic, and the performers themselves took care to confirm that opinion by accompanying the application of remedies to their patients with muttered spells or elaborately wrought and imposing incantations. This is a testimony respecting the ancient repute in which charmers were held, not lightly to be rejected. While some travellers are too sceptical, I have likewise to complain that others are too credulous. For instance, while Dubois and Denon scout the idea of serpents being charmed at all, Bruce asserts, and that from minute personal observation, that all the blacks of Sennaar are completely armed by nature against the bite of either scorpion or viper. " They will," says he, " take their horned snakes (there the most common and one of the most fatal of the viper tribe) in their hands at all times, put them in their bosoms, and throw them at on e 318 THE IRISH PENNY JOURNAL. another as children nil] balls or apples, during which sport the serpents are seldom irritated to bite, or if they do, no mischief results from the wound." Of course it must be evi- dent that Bruce in this instance ascribed rather too much to the bounty of nature, and forgot how far art might have aided in producing the appearance which astonished him. Don Pedro D'Orbies Y. Vargas, who published in the year 1791 the result of a series of investigations he instituted to ascertain the secret on which serpent-charming depended, informs us that it is also extensively practised by the natives of South America, and that they produce the wished-for end by means of a certain plant named the quacho-mithy, so de- signated from its having been first observed to have been resorted to by the serpent-hawk, or, as the bird is sometimes styled, the " quacho-mithy," and by it sucked, preparatory to its encounters with the poisonous reptiles which it fought with and destroyed for its prey. Taking the hint from the natur- ally and instinctively instructed bird, the Indians chewed the plant thus discovered, and inoculated and washed their bodies with its juice, rubbing it into punctures made in their breasts, hands, and feet; and, thus prepared, they dreaded not the bite of the most venomous snake. Don Pedro himself, and the domestics of his household, used after these simple precau- tions to venture into the thickest woods and the most danger- ous meadows, and fearlessly seize in their hands the largest and most poisonous serpents; the creatures seemed as if un- der the influence of a sort of charm or fascination, and very rarely attempted to bite ; and at any rate, even if they did, no evil consequence resulted from the wound beyond the tempo- rary inconvenience produced by the laceration of the flesh by the animals' teeth. The same gentleman to whom I was indebted for the anec- dote of the encounter with the cobra de capella, mentioned in a preceding paper, informed me that he had detected a snake-charmer in the act of chewing and inoculating him- self with some plant, the name or character of which he could not however ascertain, though ho offered the juggler a considerable sum for the information. One of the leaves of this plant, and the only one he saw, he states to have been of along and narrow form, with the sides indented or scol- loped, somewhat like those of our own common dandelion. Now, it appears to me by no means difficult of deduction from the facts brought forward in this and the preceding papers on the same subject, that the secret of the snake- charmers is dependent upon two ingredients, viz, in the first place the employment of an antidote which will not only mollifytheeffectsof the reptiles' venom, should the experiment- ers happen to be bitten, but, from some peculiar odour which it emits, stupifv or intoxicate the snake, and indispose it from violence, inclining it rather to appreciate the melody with which they are treating it, and luxuriate in hearing of their fife ; and, in the second place, the sounds of music which the whole class of reptiles appear more or less to be sensible of, and which will induce the serpents to quit their holes when they come within the sphere of the influence of the intoxicating odour, and, abandoning themselves to its effects, fall into a state of temporary oblivion, and are taken captive. We our- selves are well acquainted with several substances which are capable of producing upon such creatures as we are conver- sant with in these islands, effects no less astonishing than those produced upon the snakes by the charmers of India or South America. It is, for instance, a very common thing, and an experiment I have not only often seen tried, but have tried myself dozens of times, and that with success, to charm trout, perch, or roach, with assafcetida. If you sprinkle this substance, finely powdered, upon the surface of the water, you will presently see the fish crowding to the spot ; and even if you rub your hands well with it, and, gradually approaching the water, gently immerse them in it, you will ere long find the fish attracted towards you, and, losing their natural timi- dity, actually permit themselves to be taken. Many have imagined that it was upon the use of a certain drug that the wonderful power possessed and successfully exerted by Sulli- van, the whisperer, depended ; but for my part I think the cir- cumstance of Sullivan's son having been unable to produce similar effects, although instructed by his father in the mys- tery, is sufficient to show that Sullivan's trick depended upon some means less certain in operation than the mere employ- ment of a drug would be, and in which mechanical dexterity and personal bearing occupied places of no mean importance. Rat-catchers used formerly to employ certain drugs, or com- binations of them, to collect these vermin into one place, and thus destroy them wholesale, or to entice them into the trap ; and it has been pretended by some worthy members of this ancient and mystic calling, that they are possessed of secrets by which they can, if they please, draw away all the rats from any premises on which they may be employed. I have, however, sought after the most talented living professors of rat-catching, and I cannot say I have ever witnessed miracles equal to that. I have, however, seen a trap placed in a cel- lar haunted by rats, and left there all night, filled next morning with these vermin to the number of thirty, and surrounded by a host of others, who actually could not enter from want of room ! I have seen a tame white rat smeared with a certain composition, let loose in a vault, and in less than half an hour return, followed by at least half a dozen others, who appeared so enamoured of the white-coloured decoy, or of some scent that hung about him, that they suffered themselves to be taken alive in the rat-catcher's hand, and never so much as offer to bite. I purchased this secret from an old rat-catcher, and have much pleasure in communicating it to the public, and more especialy to the discriminating patrons of the Irish Penny Journal. It consists of the following simple prepa- ration : — Powdered assafcetida 2 grains. Essential oil of rhodium 3 drachms. Essential oil of lavender 1 scruple. Oil of aniseed 1 drachm. Let the assafoetida be first well triturated with the ani- seed, then add the oil of rhodium, still continuing to rub the material well up together in a mortar, after which add the oil of lavender, and cork up the mixture in a close bottle until required. The method of employing this receipt is very sim- ple, and consists merely in smearing the decoy rat with it, in mixing a few drops of it with a little flour or starch, and employing the paste thus formed as a bait for the trap ; and if you anoint your hands with this mixture, you may put them into a cage full of rats without the slightest danger of a bite. I have done so repeatedly myself, and never got bitten unless when I had prepared the composition improperly, or displayed timidity in proceeding to handle the animals — a defect of de- meanour which appears capable of counteracting the working of the charm. The liking which rats exhibit for the perfume produced by the above simple composition is truly wonderful, but will be readily admitted, even while as yet its efficacy remains un- tested, by any person who has witnessed the passion exhi- bited by cats for valerian, or of dogs for galbanum, and after much consideration and attentive observation I have come to the conclusion that the effects produced by different sub- stances upon these animals have a common origin, viz, in the peculiar odour calling into play the sexual appetite, and that too in a more than commonly energetic manner ; of course I only mean to apply this latter observation to the case of dogs, rats, and cats. I have no intention of thus seeking to explain away the effect produced upon serpents or fishes by certain odours, accompanied by music ; indeed, in these instances I should rather ascribe the effects produced to a sort of intoxicating, fascinating influence, bearing no dis- tant resemblance to the power exercised towards other ani- mals by many of the serpent tribe themselves. The fascina- tion of the rattle-snake, for example, seems in a great mea- sure to depend upon the agency of a certain intoxicating odour which the reptile has the power of producing at pleasure. In support of this opinion I may adduce the testimony of Major A. Gordon, who thus explains the fascination of ser- pents in a paper read before the New York Historical So- ciety. He adduced various facts in support of his opinions, and amongst the rest mentions a negro, who could by smell alone discover a rattle-snake when in the exercise of this power, at the distance of two hundred feet, and who, follow- ing such indications, never failed of finding some poor animal drawn within its vortex, and in vain struggling with the irre- sistible influence. By no means remotely allied to charming and fascination would appear to be that mysterious and as yet doubtful power, animal magnetism, a subject on which I shall not dilate, as it hardly falls within the limits indicated by the heading of this paper, which has now run to a length considerably greater than I contemplated at starting ; and consequently I think it time to take my leave, trusting I have at least given a clue to the great secret on which depends the magical influence of the serpent-charmer. H. D. R.